Criminal charges filed over ITC fire in Deer Park

HOUSTON – Criminal charges were filed Monday against Intercontinental Terminals Co. after last month’s fire at the company’s chemical facility in Deer Park.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said five environmental crimes charges have been filed in connection with the fire that began March 17.

In a written statement, Ogg said the dike around the 15-tank yard where the fire burned for nearly a week broke and sent large quantities of xylene and benzene into Tucker Bayou. She said the pollution levels remained above the criminal threshold from March 17 to March 21, meaning the company is being charged for each of those days.

“We are looking forward to reviewing the reports of other local and federal agencies as they complete their investigations so that we can determine if other charges will follow,” Ogg said in her statement.

Ogg said ITC could face a fine of up to $100,000 per charge.

The amount of chemicals that were released into Tucker Bayou is still unknown, Ogg said.

Several people who live near the plant have filed civil lawsuits, claiming the fallout from the fire led to medical problems.

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